Time to Organize the G-2?
show comments
  • I think the US still needs Europe (and Japan) to have enough economic muscle to force China to behave. For this brief moment in history the great industrial democracies still hold the balance of power.

  • Scott Morgan

    I know this is irrelevant to what I view as an interesting post but does anyone else think the photo looks as though John Kerry’s face has been Photoshopped onto someone else’s head?

    Maybe I need to focus on the topic more.

  • J R Yankovic

    “As economic and social development spreads, the world is becoming a much more complicated place and no single country or two-country clique can impose its will on the international system as a whole.”

    Exactly. And I can easily imagine the world continuing down that wholesome path of greater complexity. Or at least so long as a couple of self-important behemoths don’t OVER-combine to the point of splitting the global difference, either to the neglect of the needs of more like-minded partners and allies (in our case), or at the expense of both their own environment and consumer economy AND their neighbors’ goodwill (in the case of China).

    But perhaps I’m being alarmist. Now that I think about it, I am being alarmist. Any country that achieves

    (1) record-breaking growth at record-breakneck speed,

    (2) the 2-generations-or-less recovery of its global dignity and respect, and after 100 years of the most degrading humiliation at the hands of the most unspeakable barbarians (think of it – ONE HUNDRED years! out of a civilization’s 2-millennium-plus history),

    and all, mind you, at the minor costs of barely-breathable air in its major cities, conditions approaching slave labor in not a few of its factories, and the antagonism of nearly every one of its immediate neighbors, is clearly a nation that deserves my closest partnership on all sorts of global issues. Which, as I (mis?)understand it, is pretty much what we Yanks had been guaranteeing the Anti-people’s Republic right up till just a few years ago. With the results – exemplary PRC humility, patience and restraint in both global and local disputes – being apparent for all to see.

    OTOH I can’t help wondering: Suppose that China’s “second global power” place had been occupied instead by – try not to laugh too hard – yes, Russia. A Russia no less intent on making its own people pay the FULL price of growth and development, while ensuring comparably favorable terms to foreign investors. And all the while seeking a regional/global military role more fully commensurate with its true stature. Would we have spent the better part of two decades falling all over ourselves and our allies, trying to find the right diplomatic-economic-military fit? Or rather would we at once have got busy cobbling together a reprise of the Ultimate Grand Alliance (c. 1981), complete with allies of every stripe? Including some more than a little tainted by the, let us say, more troubling colors and shades of Islam (“They love God and hate Russians – can’t be all bad, right?”)?

    It just seems to me that our conventional “elite” wisdom finds it a little too convenient to believe – and to see confirmed? – the worst about Russian “character”: Its ineducability, incorrigibility, innate barbarism. Whereas, for the longest time, it seemed there were far too many of us ready to ask ourselves a reverse set of questions about the mainland Chinese: How far are we willing to accept THEIR education, correction, redefinition of the terms and parameters of growth, etc?

    I guess there’s just no arguing with a certain kind of success. After all, nobody ever said even the most demanding Russkies could ever hold a candle to those clever, self-assured (to say nothing of self-entitled) Chinese. In case, however, anyone still has doubts about the wisdom of the most unreserved engagement of Beijing, remember: This is a system prepared to inflict – and on its urban wealth-creators, no less! – the sort of air quality that makes LA smell and taste like Yosemite. And this upon a relatively quiescent and co-operative population. Just think what they might fancy doing to us unco-operative barbarians . . .

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.